Although I do not have the authority to make this declaration, I will do it anyway: October is the best month of the year. Even this year. Maybe especially this year. All of the sweetness seems a little sweeter.
When I was much younger, my love for this month was mostly because it’s the month of my birthday. That’s far down the list now. But there are plenty of other good things to make it a great 30-day period on the calendar.
To begin with, the weather finally begins to turn cooler and stay that way, for the most part. September might tease us, but for every cool breezy September day, we’ll have at least two with summer-like heat and humidity. (Don’t fact-check me on that, just go with it.)
October reminds us we live in an area of the country where we have seasons, and I’m a seasons kind of guy. I would not do well living in a tropical climate where the temperature stays the same all year.
I love being outside in October. Sitting on the back deck is even more peaceful with the crispness in the air, as are the walks I take. For some reason, on clear days, the sky seems bluer than in any other month.
As much as I disdain the current political landscape, I still enjoy the process. Every two years, October represents the home stretch for an early-November general election, and I enjoy observing (and, I admit, often complaining about) the developments.
And as you know, I get a kick out of writing about politics on occasion. Since we’re electing a president, the stakes are a little higher this year, although with the pandemic, it took a long time for the excitement to build. (Think Joe Biden speaking from his basement.)
With early voting, October is usually when I go to the polls. My wife tells me I have a certain look after I’ve voted, as well as a spring in my step. And maybe she’s right. I do hold that privilege dear, so I guess there’s some pride mixed in.
This year, partly because I qualify and partly because Donald Trump doesn’t want me to do it, I chose a mail-in ballot. It’s sitting on my desk and I’ll be voting in the next few days. I wonder if one of the polls workers would give me an “I Voted” sticker if I asked for one?
All of the above contribute to my good humor during this month.
But without a doubt, the best thing about October is the intersection of postseason baseball with college football.
If history repeats itself, I will lose interest in the latter in a few weeks. But right now, since we almost did not have a season, I’m enjoying the games and not taking for granted the entertainment they provide on Saturdays.
My wife, a truer fan than I, might find me watching more games with her this year than in past seasons.
It’s the postseason baseball, however, that stands tallest for me.
I’m extremely proud of Major League Baseball for making it through the frantic, abbreviated 60-game season after experiencing some hiccups at the start, thanks to the coronavirus. Kudos to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, as well as all the team managers and players, for staying the course and making it to an exciting regular season finish and a spectacular postseason.
As I file this column on Friday, the Atlanta Braves, my favorite National League team, must win only one more game to clinch the NL pennant. Leading the Dodgers three games to one in the seven-game contest, they have three chances to do it.
(You’ll know the outcome by the time you read this, and don’t feel sorry for me if it didn’t work out that way. It was still a great season, and they broke the curse of crashing and burning in postseason play.)
I’m hoping I’ll be watching the Braves play the Tampa Bay Rays, who lead the Houston Astros three to two for the AL title, in the World Series this week.
You don’t know how greatly it pains me to pull against my all-time favorite team, the Astros. But after the sign-stealing scandal in which they were caught red-handed, and their tepid apologies, I think it would be better for them not to be in the Fall Classic this year.
I will return as an Astros fan, and I give great credit to Dusty Baker for the job he has done managing the beleaguered organization this year, but I’m simply not there yet.
There is a saying going around, something to the effect of “We’ve never done it like this before in October,” alluding to the pandemic, the shortened season and the unprecedented 16-team playoffs leading up to the World Series.
To an extent, it’s true. Everything is different this year. But October is still October. Let’s enjoy every minute.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].